Family heirlooms come in all shapes and sizes and on especially rare occasions they can also be turbocharged. A perfect example was the ’67 Chevy panel truck that served the Banks in-house testbed and parts chaser back in the ’70s.
Affectionately known as the “White Tortilla”, the 5,200-pound vehicle ran 0 to ’60s in six seconds flat and did the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 116 mph. This performance was obtained with a 3.73:1 gear and on pump gasoline.
The twin-turbocharged 500 horsepower Banks small-block was the focus of intensive testing for turbocharged street combinations. It was based on one of the Banks 4-bolt main marine blocks equipped with a forged steel crank, LT-1 connecting rods and TRW forged pistons. The cylinder heads were standard in the late 60’s units with 1.94-inch intake valves and 1.5-inch exhaust valves. Stiffer valve springs and hardened retainers provided 7,000 rpm capability, and the Banks/Rhoads lifters kept the engine idling smoothly even with the high-performance cam. The lifters provided 6 more inches of vacuum at idle and improved throttle response. Its twin Rayjay turbos, 800 CFM blow-through carburetor and more helped “motivate” this beast to ludicrous speeds.
Hundreds of hours were spent testing on the “White Tortilla”, and it will always be remembered as one of the most important research vehicles ever to grace the Banks test fleet throughout the decades. And man… do we wish that we still had it!